Welcome to our newest guest post series! Head Over Feels are finally filling our SuperWhoLock quota with “Salt vs. Sass: Dawn & Sarah take on Sam and Dean,” a Supernatural recap-a-thon! We’ll learn all about the family business through the eyes of veteran fan Dawn and n00b Sarah. They’ll be posting weekly, so now is the perfect moment to queue up your rewatch or pop your SPN cherry. Want to speak fluent SPN fangirl? Check out this handy Glossary of Terms.
Take it away, ladies! –S
Dawn Ferchak is a long-term Dean girl who occasionally has trouble resisting the King of Hell.
Sarah Bisman is an SPN newbie and professional crafter of one-line bios.
Sarah: I read a shit ton as a child, too far beyond my grade level, and I read a lot of freaky horror stories. My imagination comes up with some pretty scary stuff (which is the other reason I don’t watch a lot of scary movies & TV). That said, I sense this episode will involve a lot of stuff that will freak my shit out. You know, like usual.
Dawn: This is a Kripke ep, which means exposition and Important Plot Points. It also features a guest star many SPN fans are heartbroken didn’t become a series regular. Also, there will be feels. Many, many feels. Notably enraged ones. Or maybe that’s just me.
Season 1, Episode 9: Home
Written by Eric Kripke
The Story So Far: Flaaaaames! Brothers. Feelings.
Ooh. We get a chyron right away. We’re in…wait, LAWRENCE, KANSAS? Oh, shit. This can’t be good for anyone, especially not the blonde mom crying over her wedding photo. As we know, blondes do not do well on Supernatural per Life Lesson #24, but man, Blonde Moms? It’s real possible that somebody’s gonna take a nice, fiery ceiling ride.
Blonde NotMaryMom is joined by her young daughter, who can’t sleep because there’s “something in [her] closet.” Mom can’t find a thing. Scared daughter “doesn’t like this house,” because this kid is clearly wise beyond her years. And who can blame her? Seriously, in Lawrence, KS, there’s pretty much only one house this can possibly be. Anyway, Scared daughter makes mom put a chair under the closet doorknob to keep the closet monster from getting out, and mom heads downstairs to resume unpacking.
Mom hears icky noises from the basement (you WISH they were rats, NotMaryMom. Like, really). When she goes downstairs to investigate, where of course the basement light doesn’t work, something moves the chair away from Scared Daughter’s closet. Scared daughter has now been upgraded to TERRIFIED!Daughter. Also the two doorknobs on the closet kind of look like glowing eyes, so nicely done, lighting tech.
In the basement, Mom finds Winchester relics, including pictures of a young Papa and Mama Winchester and baby Winchester brothers! Aw. But we can’t get too carried away by the cute because upstairs, TERRIFIED!Daughter’s closet is fully open and we can only assume she’s about to be sucked into hell, Poltergeist style. A flaming being appears in the closet and TERRIFIED!Daughter screams her young head off.
Roll opening credits.
NotMaryMom appears in the upstairs window, screaming silently. A horn sounds, and Sammy wakes up – it’s another nightmare. And we are actually in the Winchester Motel of the Week while Dean tries to interest Sam in various Odd Happenings around the country. Sam’s not down with it; he is very busy drawing a picture of a tree, over and over again. Sam isn’t a bad artist. Dean is still throwing ideas out there and wondering of any of these things are blowing Sammy’s skirt up. Yeah, not so much — especially not once he realizes that the tree in front of the house in his dream is the tree in front of his babyhood home. He confirms this by breaking out Dad’s Scary Demonbits, where he also finds the same pic that NotMaryMom was looking at in the dark basement. “Dean, I know where we have to go next,” Sam says — back home. Back to Kansas. Skeptical!Dean is skeptical, and probably more than a little nervous because childhood trauma. Sam says trust me; Dean is like not without context, kiddo. Time for sam to come clean about his nightmares, which he had been playing pretty close to the vest. Because they’re not just dreams. “Sometimes, they come true.” Sam admits to dreaming about Jessica’s death for days before it happened. He is clearly plagued with guilt because SPN Life Lesson #22 and is pretty sure that they have to save the woman currently living in their old house.
Dean wants none of this. It’s a lot to take in — the fact that his little brother has “the shining,” for one (Dean reads Stephen King or watches horror movies because research, man. Research.) And Dean definitely does not want to go home, “especially when I swore to myself I would never go back there.” Because Sam was just a baby then, but Dean… Dean remembers. In fact, it’s a good goddamn bet that he remembers all the time, based on how very very shiny his eyes are:
Those are Winchester tears, ladies and gentlemen. And this is the fandom, upon seeing our tough, sarcastic, brave man damn near crying them:
But he’s Dean. And he knows. That’s his curse — it’s the Winchester curse, damn you, John. So they’re going.
This is the most serious and dramatic moment the Winchester boys have had on screen so far. And it’s only going to get worse from here, kids.
Three miles to Lawrence. Can we talk about the number three for a second? In the beginning, they were four. Then mom died, and they were three. Then dad went on a hunting trip and they were down to two. Three is the Trinity. Three is prime. Three is powerful. But bad luck also comes in threes. And this is the ninth episode — nine is the square of three.
Keep three in mind. It’s important.
Cut to Baby pulling up in front of the former Casa de Winchester. When the NotMaryMom opens the door, Dean opens his mouth to spout an alias of the week but Sam has another idea. An astonishing one: The truth. Sort of – that they’re driving by and just want to see the old place.
Low and behold, it works! Not only that, but NotMaryMom tells them she thinks she found their old photos and is only to happy to invite them in. She introduces them to Richie, her “juice junky” of a toddler, and Sairey, aka TERRIFIED!Daughter. Sairey looks very, very solemn. FTR, our Sairey looks rather the same.
And hey, look at that. Three people live in the house. Want to take bets on the age difference between Richie and Sairey?
NotMaryMom tells the boys that she’s just moved from Wichita. Sam asks how they like the place, and Mom lets them know that there’s all sorts of problems with it – flickering lights, backed up sink, rats in the basement – that she’s heard. She thinks it’s that the house is old. Dean and Sam know better, of course.
Can we take a minute to discuss on Dean’s face throughout this scene? Man, our boy is just barely holding it together.
Sairey wants to know if they had things in their closets too, because she saw a figure on fire in her closet. She is very certain about what she saw: “I wasn’t dreaming. It came into my bedroom –- and it was on fire.”
The boys book it out of the house. Dean is still coming to terms with Sam’s dreams being Actual Premonitions, but Sam is on a holy mission. He wants to know if the thing in the house is the thing that killed their Mom and Jessica. He wants to get them Out of the House. The dialogue continues to be The Most Dramatic Dialogue in the History of Dialogue!
Sam: We MUST get them out of the house!
Dean: We CAN’T get them out of the house!
Dean advocates “chilling out” and treating this like any other job – which means investigating. This time around, though, they’re investigating their own history and it’s about the most unfun thing ever.
Sam wants to know what Dean remembers about “that night.” It’s not a lot, because he was FIVE FUCKING YEARS OLD at the time and far too busy saving the life of his infant brother because fuck you, John SERIOUSLY. At this moment in the episode, Dawn would very much like to do this to John Winchester:
Sam never knew that Dean carried him out the front door, because Dad certainly never said it and Dean, well, it’s just not in Dean to take credit for anything because he’s just a soldier, just a grunt, just doing the things that need doing without question. Oh, Crowley, the feels. Seriously, THE FUCKING FEELS.
So, all they know is what Dean actually saw and what Sam heard from Dad — Mom in flames on the ceiling, etc. If they want more information, they’re going to have to do some research. Sam knows this isn’t “just another job.” So does Dean, but SPN Life Lesson #3, so he uses that age-old method of avoiding emotions — he says he has to pee. He doesn’t. In fact, he’s going to call Dad. And not for the first time. But this time he sounds truly terrified. He has no idea what to do and he needs help and for a moment, he is not a 26 year old hunter who saves people and hunts things. He’s just a scared boy who wants his dad. He needs his fucking father. Dean is begging. And crying.
And this is us:
Before we all die from emotional trauma, we return to the former casa de Winchester, where NotMaryMom has called a plumber in to help with the backed-up sink. He should really take a clue from the super freaky toy monkey with cymbals that goes off like mad (because those little motherfuckers are never good) as he opens up the pipes and turns off the power to the garbage disposal, but nooooooooooo. And at 16.5 minutes in, we’re about to have our first Deadshirt. (Can we congratulate this episode, though? Relatively speaking, there’s been less death than is usually the case at this point. At least, if you don’t count Dawn’s heart.)
Anyway, back to Injuredshirt!Plumber guy. He reaches into the disposal and feels something funky. Pulls his hand out, and nothing. So like a dumbfuck, he reaches back in, and sure enough, his arm is pulverized by the disposal, operating on sheer (we imagine) Demon Power. Blood gushes from the pipe, and the monkey goes off again, apparently delighted by the gore.
Dawn: I told you those little bastards can’t be trusted.
Sarah: All of my fears about staying in the basement of my Bubbie’s house in Minneapolis, where my Mom’s childhood toy monkey collection was displayed, much to my terror, have now been totally validated by fiction.
The next morning, Sam and Dean are visiting the garage their father used to co-own. This time, they’re even using their Disguise of the Week! It’s….cops! (Everyone look surprised.) These fake cops are opening up cold cases, and John Winchester is one of them. The garage owner remembers that John was kind of a competitive badass who loved his wife a whole heck of a lot and “doted on those kids.” This is killing Dean, and Sam knows it, so he asks what happened after “the fire.” Well, things got weird after Mary died (YA THINK?), and John “just got worse and worse.” He started reading strange old books and going to see a local palm reader.
This piques Dean’s interest a hell of a lot, but the mechanic can’t give them a name. So Hunter Homework takes Sam to the phone book — remember phone books? — and Dean’s interest is piqued at the name “Missouri Mosley.” Seems the very first page of Dad’s Scary Demonbits mentioned going to Missouri to learn the truth. Dean always assumed that he meant the state, but…
Cut to the boys in Missouri’s front room. And she’s LORETTA DEVINE. Know her, love her, cherish her every time she appears on screen, because she is a gift to every show she’s on. We hope she’s given a character worthy of her considerable talents.
Back to the ep – Missouri’s telling a man how much is wife looooooooooves him as she sees him out, but as soon as the door’s shut, she speaks one of the all time greatest lines in the history of Supernatural: “Poor bastard. His woman is cold-bangin’ the gardener.” We love her instantly and proclaim her queen.
Dean wonders why she didn’t just tell the poor bastard; the new Queen of Our Lives acknowledges that she’s peddling the good news that people want to be true, rather than actual truth. She orders them to the back room by their names, much to their surprise, and she seems genuinely pleased to see them. They grew up handsome, she says with a laugh — apparently it’s funny because Dean was “one goofy-looking kid.” This delights Sam, as well it should.
She takes Sam’s hand and grows solemn, able to tell at a touch that Sam’s lost his girlfriend and that they can’t find their father. Missouri is Psychic, ya’ll — like not fucking around PSYCHIC. Dean wants to know where their father is. Missouri takes him to task for confusing psychics and magicians, and Sam smiles for the first time in 22 minutes.
Sarah: I hope she is this show’s answer to BtVS’ Giles. Please let her be this show’s answer to Giles. They both have the same mix of kind concern and unwillingness to put up with stupidity.
Queen Missouri also has no time for boys without manners – she threatens to whack Dean with a spoon if he puts his feet on her coffee table. When he protests, she assures him that he was thinking about it.
Dawn: I could not love her more. I want her to adopt me.
Queen Missouri tells the boys that she let John Winchester in on the dark secrets of our world – helped him to see what was really going on. He apparently took her to the house after the fire, but all she could tell was that the thing that killed their mom was Super Evil.
She ain’t kidding. NotMaryMom is on the phone with a lawyer (possibly a demon lawyer, because aren’t they all?) who’s letting her know that she’s being held liable for the plumber’s loss of limb. She can’t afford a lawyer, and she’s hearing banging upstairs. Like a champ, she leaves her toddler alone for a minute. This is the psychic equivalent to leaving your kid alone near water, Mom. Super bad idea. Such a bad idea, in fact, that we are calling it Supernatural Life Lesson #28 — don’t leave the kids alone.
We’re jumping back and forth from Missouri’s place to casa de Winchester now. Missouri is surprised to hear that anything evil is back in the house, since she’s been keeping watch over it and it’s seemed “quiet.” She can’t figure out why it’s awakening now. Sam thinks it has something to do with their father going missing and Jessica dying. Dean is not pleased.
Back at casa de Winchester, someTHING is opening little’ Richie’s throwback of a wooden playpen. It also unlatches the fridge, which Richie understandably takes as an invitation to get his beloved juice. So of course the fridge door shuts on him and relatches. AN ACTUAL PERSON IS ACTUALLY FRIDGED. Holy shit, it’s like we’re in the comics. Only Richie is a kid instead of a ladyperson. NotMaryMom can’t find him anywhere because why would she ever look in the fridge? It’s only when she sees milk dripping from the door that she opens it and finds her son.
As if on cue, there’s a knock at the door: Winchesters AND Missouri!! They want to show her the house. NotMaryMom doesn’t think it’s a great time for that. Dean starts to spout bullshit and Missouri smacks him. It’s awesome.
Missouri also knows that Jenny (That’s NotMaryMom’s actual name) knows that something’s wrong and convinces her to let them in.
Queen Missouri heads straight for the room that used to be Sammy’s nursery. For the first time, Sam looks as uncomfortable as his brother. Dean pulls out the EMF; Missouri is not impressed and calls him an amateur. It’s awesome. The EMF dings and Missouri tells them that whatever’s happening in their old house is the supernatural equivalent of an infected cut. She also tells them that they’re dealing with more than one thing, but not the thing that killed Mary. Thing one is a poltergeist, “a nasty one.” Thing two is unknown. Thing one wants Jenny and her family dead, though, and that’s enough for Dean. He wants to fight back.
Dawn: THAT’S MY BOY.
Missouri arms the team back at her place – they’re going to place bags of “odds and ends” (crossroads dirt, herbs) in four corners of the house on every floor. This is classic hoodoo, kids, and nice job of it by the research department — Van Van oil (protection and purification), angelica root (Angelica archangelica, blessed root of the archangel Michael, used for protection and uncrossing), and crossroads dirt (protection again). Missouri is making gris-gris bags — that’s down South hoodoo and powerful stuff. She wasn’t kidding when she called Dean an amateur — this lady has Power and she clearly knows how to use it.
Dean doesn’t think Jenny will like the redecoration. Missouri notes that Jenny will be alive to have an opinion.
After packing Jenny and her kids off to the movies, our Trinity of Mother, Warrior, and Spirit start to attack the house, which starts to attack right back. Dean narrowly escapes becoming an unwilling participant in a knife throwing act but he gets his bag in the wall. Missouri plants her gris-gris, but gets pinned by furniture in the basement. Sam is not so lucky — he’s attacked by a very pissed off lamp cord and falls to the ground, gris-gris falling out of his hand. But this is That House, and Dean is on High Alert. He comes rushing to his brother’s aid and quickly realizes that the only way to save Sam is to place the bag, which he does, to a thunderous sound a flash of bright white light. The bags have been placed. The house is a wreck, but the poltergeist is vanquished. It’s a very Zelda Rubenstein moment.
Sam isn’t super sure about all this, but he blows it off because he hasn’t learned yet. Jenny and family return; Missouri assures them that Dean will clean everything up. Dean look unconvinced. MIssouri sasses him into action by saying, “Well, what are you waiting for, boy? Get the mop. And don’t cuss at me!” We. Fucking. Love. Her.
Our Trinity leave the house. All good, right? Except there’s still ten whole minutes left in the episode and we haven’t actually seem NotMaryMom screaming in the window yet.
Instead, we see her in bed, reading and then turning out the light. The bed goes nuts. And then there she is, in the window, screaming.
Sam and Dean are outside in Baby — back down to two, we notice — discussing the evening’s events. Sam still has a bad feeling. Dean’s horror pop culture knowledge is sound, because he intones Zelda Rubinstein and says,” The house should be clean.” It’s not. Sam spots Jenny, and our boys spring into action. Dean, kind of echoing his father on that horrible night, orders Sam, “You grab the kids; I’ll get Jenny.”
Jenny is trapped in her room; the fire thing is in Sairey’s room. Dean busts down Jenny’s door and gets her out; Sam manages the same with the kids. And now Sammy unknowingly quotes his absent father as he tells the terrified girl, “Take your brother outside as fast as you can and don’t look back!”
Let’s just be absolutely clear here, shall we?
The kids make it out. Sam nearly does too, but that goddamn house isn’t done with him yet. It DRAGS Sam back inside, where he collides painfully with the kitchen cabinets.
The kids run to their mother; Dean grabs Sairey by the shoulders: “Where’s Sam?” And Older Sibling Take Two is holding it together admirably well, because she tells him clearly, “He’s inside. Something’s got him.” Dean looks at the house. And the front door slams shut.
Dean heads straight for Baby’s Trunk of Holding for shotgun and shells. He tries kicking down the door, while inside the house is kicking the shit out of Sam. Dean manages to break the door and scream for his brother, just in time for the fiery creature to appear. Dean appears, salt shotgun at the ready, but Sam stops him. Oh Crowley. Save us all from the feels. It’s Mary. It’s their fucking mom. The look of recognition on Dean’s face, the shaking of his arm as he lowers the gun… She says his name, and he can’t even smile. Then she goes to Sam, who is crying, and oh holy mother of fuck, Dawn has just realized that this is probably the first time he has ever SEEN his mother, really seen her. He was just a baby when she died, which means this is going to be Sam’s first actual memory of his mother. When he’s 22 years old. And she is already dead.
“I’m sorry,” she says to her youngest son, her baby. “For what?” he asks. And in Mary’s face, we see the all answers. For leaving you. For not seeing you grow up. For saddling you with your father, and this life. For dying. But she can’t say those things, so instead, she does the only thing she can — she saves her sons, and their home. Now, this house is clean. And Mary burns again. Fire purifies. And it destroys.
‘Now, it’s over,” Sam says.
Jenny gives the boys the pictures from the basement. She is thankful, and pretty, and Dean is so fucking traumatized that he doesn’t notice. He is done. Just done.
Sam and Missouri are sitting on the steps; she explains to him that Mary has destroyed herself by defeating the ghost – the energies have canceled each other out. Sam is understandably despondent. He hopes Missouri can tell him what’s happening to him, but she can’t.
They head to Baby. Missouri tells the boys not to be strangers, and Dean says they won’t. But something in her face when she says, “See you around” lets us know the truth. Baby pulls away.
Missouri goes into her own house. There are a few minutes left still, and we are worried that something might be coming for her. But no, she’s just talking out loud to herself, remarking on Sam’s power. And this: “But why he couldn’t sense his own father, I have no idea.”
The camera pans out a bit to reveal this:
Sarah thinks he is the hottest of all Winchesters. Dawn is too busy screaming unintelligible curses and plagues upon John to care. (Also, Sarah is having a wee bit of a Grey’s Anatomy fangirl moment at seeing these two actors share a scene on another show, while Dawn is still rabid with rage.)
Missouri is pissed because John won’t talk to the boys. He insists he can’t, “not yet.” Not until he knows the truth.
And that’s the last line we get.
Sarah’s Final Thoughts: This was seriously the most serious of this show’s episodes thus far. Seriously. Atmosphere? Serious. Dialogue? Serious. Exposition? Serious in practically half the scenes. I enjoyed learning more about the Winchester mythos, and am glad Mary Winchester got to be an active destroyer of badness. My feminism has some pretty conflicting feels about the fact that she was ENTIRELY DESTROYED in order to take an action. And Missouri Moseley, while getting all of the best lines in this episode and being generally fabulous, also fills the tropes of magical black person and sassy black lady. (Are tropes bad even when the characters that fulfill them are 1000% awesome? Discuss in the comments.) I still want Missouri to be this show’s Giles, though I now know by perusing Ms. Devine’s IMDB page that this is not to be. What a huge missed opportunity. If you love her work as much as I do, check out her arc as Alzheimer’s-stricken Adele Webber on Greys. And if you want to appear awesome to your kids/nieces/nephews, etc., be sure to catch her as Hallie on Doc McStuffins. (Seriously. You will be the most popular parent/caregiver if you know this show.) Also this episode didn’t do much for me in the fear department. Maybe it’s because we’re pretty inured to scary ghosts we can’t see at this point. Maybe it’s because for the first time so far, we had ZERO deadshirts. Dunno. I’ll give it a pass because it’s fullllllll of important stuff that even I, the newb, can tell we’ll need in later eps (and presumably seasons).
Dawn’s Final Thoughts: FUCK YOU, JOHN. FUCK. YOU.